Sweet and spicy fried plantains recipe (Fried & baked)

14.8.16 | Recipe by Renz

Introducing a delightful twist to a classic favorite, our recipe for spicy fried plantains offers a tantalizing blend of sweet and savory flavors. With just a few simple ingredients and easy steps, you can transform ripe plantains into crispy, golden slices infused with a kick of heat. Whether as a satisfying snack or a flavorful side dish, these spicy fried plantains are sure to elevate your culinary repertoire.

Fried ripe plantains on a white plate with a spoon of chilli pepper on top of a board.

How do you like your plantains? Are you a plantain lover like me?

There's nothing like the perfect fried plantain. A simple side dish in a lot of the Caribbean and African homes. I think I can eat a whole fried plantain on my own. And this option is no different.

Normally, we simply peel and fry plantain and that is amazing. But sometimes you want to try a different way with a different flavor and these spicy fried plantains with a variety of spices are now an option.

But don't pass up a simple boil plantain recipe being delicious either eh!


What are plantains?

Plantains are starchy, low-sugar fruits that are part of the banana family. Often mistaken for bananas, plantains are larger and contain more starch, making them ideal for cooking.

Commonly used in Caribbean, African, and Latin American cuisines, plantains can be prepared in various ways, including frying, boiling, or roasting. With a slightly different flavor and texture than bananas, plantains are versatile and can be enjoyed in both savory and sweet dishes.

Plantains are a nutritious and delicious addition to any meal, Whether in hearty stews, as a side dish, or in desserts.

Why spicy plantains?

Spicy plantains are a popular choice for those looking to add a different flavor to the traditional sweetness of ripe plantains. The spiciness adds a unique and exciting twist to sweet plantains, making it a great option for those looking to switch up their usual recipes.

The spiciness of the plantains can help to counteract the natural sweetness of ripe plantains, creating a more balanced and complex flavor profile. This can be particularly appealing for those who enjoy a bit of heat in their dishes.

Using ripe plantains with black spots for frying is beneficial as they are at their sweetest and most flavorful stage, making them ideal for creating delicious spicy plantains. Furthermore, plantains are a nutritious choice, being a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins A and C.

Choosing to make spicy plantains offers the opportunity to enjoy a different and exciting flavor, counteract the sweetness of ripe plantains, and add a spicy kick to the dish. And using ripe plantains for frying provides both great flavor and nutritional value.

Ingredients notes

Ingredients for making spiced ripe plantains.

  • Ripe plantains - Normally for fried plantains I would go with the black-skinned ones that are just close to being over-ripe. But for this recipe, a firmer one is better to deal with the weight of the flavorings. We are trying to find between half-ripe and over-ripe. We still want it sweet so it's going to be yellow with black spots. Those plantains with spots of black on the skin work fine and even all-black skin (just making sure it's not soggy to touch).
  • Vegetable oil - Its high smoke point makes it suitable for high-heat cooking methods like frying plantains. Examples you can use are Canola oil which is mild-tasting.
  • Ginger powder - adds a bit of zest to the flavor profile.
  • Onion powder - serves as one of the flavor enhancers in this dish. It is the dehydrated and ground form of onions, which provides a concentrated onion flavor without the texture of fresh onions.
  • Sugar - Helps to balance the spiciness especially if your plantain isn't that sweet from the start.
  • Salt - This will allow all the flavor profiles to pop out.
  • Cayenne pepper/chili pepper - will add depth of flavor and a satisfying level of spiciness.

Note that all spices are dry spices. It helps the spice mix to easily adhere to the sweet plantain slices.

Check the recipe card below for the full ingredients and their quantities.

How to make spicy fried plantains

Cut off the ends of the plantains and carefully peel the skin off, ensuring not to squish them in the process.

Once peeled, use a sharp knife to slice the plantains into 1/4 to 1/2-inch strips, depending on whether you want plantain cubes or plantain slices. If you prefer cubes, further cut the strips into bite-sized pieces. For slices, simply leave the strips as they are.

Ripe plantains sliced up on a cutting board with plantain skin on the side,

Combine the spices and make a mixture. Then, coat the plantain chunks with the spice mixture either in a medium bowl or a Ziploc bag, ensuring each piece is evenly coated. Allow the coated plantains to stand for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse.

For frying, heat oil in a deep pot or a large skillet to 350°F. Carefully add the coated plantain chunks to the hot oil. in a single layer, and fry until golden brown with nice crispy edges, for about 3-5 minutes. Remove the fried plantains with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

Once cooked, the plantains can be enjoyed as a delicious and versatile side dish or the perfect snack. Whether added to a savory dish or enjoyed on their own, these peeled and cut plantains will surely be a hit.

Alternative way of cooking these plantains

Alternatively, for baking, preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the coated plantain chunks on a lined baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping the plantains halfway through, until they are crisp and golden.

What to pair these plantains with:

Now how do we deal with this deliciousness now that it's done?

These spicy fried plantains would be great to replace the regular fried plantains in jerk shrimp tacos.

Have these as the perfect side dish with some jerk chicken, coconut rice, and a salad.

Or make a nice bowl with yellow rice, corn, black beans, BBQ chicken, and these spicy plantains.

Finished spicy fried plantains, spread out on a white plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of plantains should I use for spicy fried plantains?

You should use ripe plantains that have turned mostly black on the outside. These are sweeter and will complement the spicy seasoning well.

How do I know if a plantain is ripe enough to use?

Ripe plantains will have a mostly black peel, with some yellow still visible. They should yield slightly to pressure, similar to a ripe banana.

Can I use green plantains for spicy fried plantains?

While green plantains can be used, they will not be as sweet and may require longer cooking times to soften. Ripe plantains are recommended for the best flavor.

What seasoning can I use to make spicy fried plantains?

Common seasonings include chili powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, or a combination of these. You can also experiment with your favorite spicy seasonings.

How thin should I slice the plantains for frying?

Aim for slices that are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Thick slices are better for this recipe since there is the weight of the flavors to consider. Thinner slices will be crispier.

Do I need to remove the skin of the plantains before frying?

Yes, you should peel the plantains before slicing and frying them.

What oil is best for frying plantains?

You can use any high-heat oil such as vegetable oil, canola oil, or coconut oil for frying plantains.

How do I prevent the plantains from sticking to the pan when frying?

Make sure the oil is hot enough before adding the plantains, and avoid overcrowding the pan. Use a non-stick pan if possible, or ensure that your pan is well-seasoned.

Can I bake spicy plantains instead of frying them?

Yes, you can bake spicy plantains in the oven for a healthier alternative. Simply toss the seasoned plantain slices in oil and bake them at around 400°F (200°C) until they are golden brown and crispy.

How do I store leftover spicy fried plantains?

Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Reheat them in the oven or a skillet to crisp them up again before serving.

Other plantain recipes:

Caribean side dishes: